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Letters to the Editor: 01.30.20

Wed, 01/29/2020 - 10:16

Smooth and Safe
Amagansett
January 22, 2020

To the Editor,

Kudos to the professionalism of the East Hampton Town Highway Department, and Superintendent Stephen Lynch, for maintaining the unpaved portion of Stony Hill Road, ensuring that it is smooth and safe. Much appreciated.

DAVID GROSSMAN


Thrilled
Springs
January 26, 2020

Dear David,

As a Springs resident, I have always been in awe of how little all other hamlets in East Hampton pay in their school taxes compared to Springs, which is the most densely populated of all the hamlets, and it is mostly composed of working-class folks. On the past Friday evening, the school presented a program titled “Diversity Institution 2020.” And what a program it was. The audience thrilled to the students in the seventh and eighth grades presenting their views on intolerance and the consequences of treating people differently from oneself in a hateful manner.

There were handouts on the many small tables placed around the gym, and the program included bits of film that powerfully presented the students’ case against bigotry over a spaghetti dinner. Adults and younger students shared our own cultural background. Considering the assaults on specific communities because of who they are, it was gratifying to know that in this little piece of American democracy, children, and, yeah, even adults gave witness to a better way to live.

Thank you, Superintendent Winters and the advanced placement Ms. Cleary for taxes well spent.

Sincerely,

PHYLLIS ITALIANO


‘Best Choice’
Montauk
January 26, 2020

To the Editor,

I am writing regarding the “Dangerous Arsenal” letter sent in for last week’s edition by Randy Johnston, specifically the part about Montauk’s longline fishery. Mr. Johnston refers to an article that was published in the July 21, 2019, edition of Newsday that in part gives an in-depth description of the Montauk golden tilefish fishery that uses longline gear to catch the fish. He questions why Newsday would write an article that promoted the local longline fishing as though it was something to be proud of. He also questions why longline fishing is still being used locally while it has been banned in the State of California.

I have been involved in the golden tilefish fishery for over 40 years, the last 28 as an owner of one of the two boats that still fish for them in Montauk. Just to set the record straight, this fishery is something to be proud of. We use a bottom longline to catch our tilefish, not a surface longline, as Mr. Johnston seems to believe, and have never had an interaction with any type of sea turtle.

As per observer coverage by the National Marine Fisheries Service, which oversees all of our fisheries, the golden tilefish longline fishery has minimal bycatch. It is one of the cleanest fisheries on the East Coast: What we catch we either sell for food or use for bait. Even the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program gives the Atlantic tilefish fishery a high grade and considers it a “best choice,” and they set a pretty high bar, believe me. As per their recommendation, golden tilefish fished for in the mid-Atlantic are excellently managed and have no significant bycatch.

We take a lot of pride in our boats and our fishing operations and want people to continue to purchase our locally-caught seafood. The next time a little research might be in order before writing a letter with the intent to sour people on doing so.

DAN FARNHAM


The Real Issue
Fort Myers, Fla.
January 25, 2020

To the Editor:

“Just as early detection has been a huge factor in cancer success, it needs to be that in mental health as well, which means the stigma needs to go. The more we talk about it, the less stigma there will be,” Ms. Gilbert said.

It is curious we blame it on “stigma,” when it is our insistence there is a stigma that is the real issue. If we examine the historical use of that term, we can see precisely why we ought not again be directing it, in our minds or in print.

Thomas Insel, former director of National Institutes of Health, pointed out the effect that term has had on mental health research. It discouraged both interest and funding, made the research unattractive. Had we made cancer research unattractive, we would have made as little progress in that field.

Just as early detection has been a huge factor in cancer success, it needs to be that in mental health as well. We may one day get to that point.

HAROLD A. MAIO


Become Alarming
Springs
January 27, 2020

Dear David,

There are so many lies, secrets, and distortions being fed to the East Hampton community by the current town board that it has become alarming. It is very similar to the Trump style of governing.

There are very often closed-door meetings, suppression of evidence, manipulation of voting by pressuring of town employees who are appointed to town boards. The supervisor often speaks very rudely to anyone who offers credible evidence opposing his view.

Discouraged by all that’s going on here.

LENI SALZ


Bragman Design
East Hampton
January 25, 2020

Dear Editor,

In East Hampton, the emperor has been running around naked for so long that he has started a nudist colony. Should someone point out the obvious, all these naked fools, the press euphemizes and obfuscates.

So it is that Kathee Burke-Gonzalez is never held accountable for six years of disastrous decisions concerning senior services. She resolutely and viciously insisted on cramming too big a new senior center into too small a space. She dismissed bulldozing a park that was in the way as just an inconvenience when not only did it turn 50 years of environmental land use preservation on its head but also required an act of the State Legislature.

I will take full responsibility for the private meeting I had with the supervisor several years ago to make him quietly aware of these obstacles to Kathee’s no win-for-anyone project. The message was simple: Find an alternative before the number of older adults and the lack of services reach a crisis. Get something done. The original senior services committee plan, of which I was an author in 2014, laid out all the options. Everyone should read it.

There is no reason why a scaled-down building serving the needs of adult day care and the nearby elderly Accabonac housing complex could not still be built and integrated with an undisturbed park. The Bragman design does that.

Nor should the new committee abandon the worthwhile project of acquiring a larger site where a larger set of senior needs, serving other segments of the East Hampton senior community, can be accommodated.

What has to be abandoned is the “I’m never wrong” empire-building edifice complex, a disease that has infected the town board.

The purpose of local government here is not to let out building contracts to the well connected or add more office space to make life comfortable for heady bureaucrats. It is to take care of the needs of our people.

The emperor needs to put his clothes back on, scale down the Springs-Fireplace project, and get on with it.

PAUL FIONDELLA


Aircraft Pollution
Wainscott
January 23, 2020

Dear David,

As to the forum today at Rowdy Hall, “Turbulence: Will the East Hampton Airport Survive?” — the better title would be, Climate Turbulence: Will the Planet Survive? We know that the climate crisis is real. We know that man-made carbon emissions are a large factor. And we know that aircraft pollution is a large part of carbon emissions. I would suggest that any “economic benefit” of the airport is hardly enough to justify continued subsidy of our own destruction. Our children and grandchildren are already demanding that the older generation recognize how greedy and stupid we’ve been.

BARRY RAEBECK


Stand With Me
Amagansett
January 27, 2020

Dear Mr. Rattray:

Week four of my Fridays for Future/Fridays for Climate Change strike was mostly a solo event, once again. Jess and Olivia stopped by for about 20 minutes; I was glad they came.

I will be outside East Hampton Town Hall again tomorrow, for week five (Greta’s week 76), and every Friday.

There are many people who do think this is not an actual emergency requiring immediate action. I’ve heard it’s a hoax, or part of the natural global climate cycle, or the result of mammal farts and volcanic eruptions. This in the face of the consensus of scientists from several disciplines. The evidence is incontrovertible.

Every day we dump more than 800 billion pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere and there is a direct positive correlation between CO2 levels and global temperature increases. Also, as predicted, frequency and strength of storm systems have intensified around the world. Dramatic weather events, like heat waves, extended droughts, and flood-causing deluges, occur with greater regularity. Countless species are going extinct every day as we are in the midst of what is being called the sixth mass extinction; entire ecosystems have collapsed.

But don’t take my word for any of this. The research and data are readily available to anyone with a computer or internet access. These magical portals into the world of knowledge are also available at your local library.

Millions of young people are raising their voices to demand change. We all need to add to the noise level until we are loud enough to be heard by the people who can most effect the changes needed.

Civil disobedience is the way that all great movements have created peaceful but meaningful change. Gandhi and Dr. King come to mind. I think Greta Thunberg has started another movement for those seeking to be on the right side of history.

I’m asking anyone in the area to come stand with me for a while on Fridays at East Hampton Town Hall from 9 a.m. to noon. Please. You’re never too young, or too old, to make a difference.

HARRY LAGARENNE


Short Shrift
New York City
January 22, 2020

To the Editor:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recent budget proposal has plenty of bad news. It slows school spending, and pushes some Medicaid spending onto local government.

But climate advocates have something to cheer about.

First, Governor Cuomo opened his speech with a $33 billion climate initiative, plus a $3 billion proposed “Mother Nature” bond issue. While some environmental groups say this funding is repackaged existing monies, there is an important piece of good news. Governor Cuomo proposes a radical speed-up of development of renewable energy facilities by having the state provide shovel-ready sites with pre-built transmission lines before private developers are even sought, skipping the current five to 10-year wait for developers to start their projects. No renewable energy projects have actually begun under current siting laws.

But an area that still tends to get short shrift is transportation. The problem is exemplified by the governor’s apparent reluctance to fully embrace the regional Transportation Climate Initiative. Transportation accounts for about one-third of New York’s greenhouse gas emissions. If we don’t act faster to electrify buses and get people into electric cars, we will not meet our climate goals of an 85 percent renewable economy by 2050.

LAURIE JOAN ARON


New Solutions
Southampton
January 22, 2020

To the Editor:

We would like to thank the community for the incredible show of support at our premiere event “Drawdown Festival: Films Forums Fun” presented by Drawdown East End and Southampton Arts Center on Jan. 11.

Over 650 people from the five East End towns as well as supporters from around the country and the globe attended the event. This demonstrates a clear commitment on the part of our community to the principles of “Drawdown” — climate solutions formulated by the most respected environmental scientists of our time.

Based on the book edited by Paul Hawken, Project Drawdown seeks to reverse global warming by the year 2040. The festival featured three showings of the film “2040,” which follows filmmaker Damon Gameau as he travels the world in search of new approaches and solutions to climate change.

Forums based on these solutions included “Reducing Food Waste,” “Regenerative Practices on Land and Sea,” and “Moving Toward a Plant-Based Diet,” and were conducted to educate participants on how they can take action in their daily lives to draw down carbon emissions from the atmosphere. Marketplace tables focused on initiatives to further the mission of Drawdown.

The event concluded with a celebration featuring treats donated by South Fork Bakery, music by Eastbound Crossing (featuring Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman and Justice Andrea Schiavoni), as well as wine donated by Wolffer Estate Vineyards. Southampton Village Mayor Jesse Warren attended the event, as well as representatives from the Shinnecock Nation.

Participants came away inspired to act to promote climate health. The festival also marked the launch of Drawdown 100 Women4Women, an organization that emphasizes women’s pivotal role in reducing carbon emissions, and focuses on creating solutions that will result in cascading benefits for all.

Our actions today will affect the health of the planet for future generations. Change must happen now, and it starts with us. If you are interested in learning more about Drawdown East End, and what you can do to impact climate change, visit www.drawdowneastend.org.

Thanks again for a fantastic turnout! We look forward to more successful events in the future, including an Earth Day celebration to be announced.

Sincerely,

ELIZABETH RASOR

Drawdown East End/100W4W


Our Duck Pond
East Hampton
January 23, 2020

Dear Star,

I was just informed of the removal of ducks from our beloved local duck pond. While I empathize with people who want to help wildlife, my degree in biology, which includes both classroom and practical experience with wild populations, ornithology, and Long Island ecology, has taught me never to tamper with such things.

To begin with, I’ve been a visitor to the duck pond since before I could walk. My family’s photo album from 1968 has a photo of me in my mother’s arms at the duck pond. I can tell you that since that time there have always been a certain number of domesticated waterfowl hanging around. One particularly friendly white Pekin duck was dubbed “Fat Julia” by my family (named for an overweight woman we knew, not Julia Child). I have watched the changes in what used to be a Japanese-style tea garden before my time, and I can tell you that every time it was tampered with our area lost a certain number of species of all kinds, but that’s another story.

To begin with, one of the reasons there are so many domestic ducks at our pond is not, as most people seem to think, that pet owners drop them off (which does happen, but not as often as people think). Remember that all ducks can fly. Many domestic birds have their wings clipped, but unless there is some new and barbaric practice going on, this simply involved cutting feathers, which eventually grow back. Thus, within a few months of release, domestic ducks regain the ability to fly and will join wild flocks, if allowed. This brings us to the point that all domestic ducks, despite outward appearances, are actually just wild ducks that were bred for food purposes. They still retain all their internal biological and behavioral instincts, which include urges to mate and join wild flocks. Most domestic ducks in the wild are escapees from farms. Yes, they are used to being fed, but once they escape, if they find a flock to join, they will begin a learning process with deep-rooted instincts. Those that are too domesticated won’t make it and most fall victim to the few local predators we still have, mainly foxes and feral cats and dogs.

I noticed that LION [Long Island Orchestrating for Nature] is a vegan-supported organization. While I have nothing against vegans in general, I have a problem with the ones who try to tell me that it’s wrong to eat animals. This is an argument that has gone on for years, and unlike the popular notion that the human digestive tract is that of a vegetarian, biological study has proven this to be false. This notion came from the fact that humans and chimpanzees have almost identical physiology and genetics, and part of that is a shared digestive system.

It was originally argued that our shared intestinal tract was too long to be that of a herbivore. In fact, comparisons have shown that the chimp/human digestive system is actually that of an omnivore; that is, an animal that consumes both meat and plants. The omnivorous nature of chimps was proven when Jane Goodall’s research team in Gombe observed chimps scavenging scraps from predators’ kills and then confirmed chimps hunting, killing, and eating monkeys. This has been filmed and is a solid fact. So humans were not meant to be vegan or vegetarian. We evolved to be adaptable in all ways, and that includes our ability to consume whatever food was available. Personally, being a naturalist (that’s a person who studies the natural world), I find it hard to stomach when someone just takes action without looking at the real world science.

Now the real question is: Was there a good reason to remove the domestic ducks? Not really. The white Pekin, from which all other domestic ducks breed (which are regional and not based on biological difference) are essentially the white form of a mallard.

You might ask how this can be. In fact, the mallard is one of the most widespread wild ducks in the world. Unlike most other animals we eat, this was probably the case long before the white Pekin was ever domesticated. Mallards occurred naturally on every continent in the world — even Australia, I’m told. Thus the Chinese ducks from which the white Pekin was bred were mallards no different from our own local mallards. So, even if they do manage to survive the foxes and other predators to breed with wild ducks, the wild gene pool will quickly re-establish itself and in a few generations their descendants will be wild-form mallards again. No harm there, and some might say this was a good thing.

The fact that some of the ducks were sick and injured is, in the grand scheme of things, irrelevant. While it may seem like a humane thing to do to want to rehabilitate sick or injured animals, it’s really not in the long run. The intimation was that the ailing birds were in this condition because of their treatment by humans. In fact, they probably got sick and injured long after being released. The illnesses were probably caught from the wild birds, not the other way around. This is another way nature weeds out the weak. Another aspect of this is that domestic ducks have weaker immune systems since they are all very inbred. This is why duck farms do their best to exclude wild ducks; one wild duck could infect an entire farm and rather than letting the disease take its course and starting over with the survivors, who will be stronger, they slaughter every infected duck. Thus it’s unlikely that wild ducks would be infected by a domestic one (though it is certainly possible).

Also, most people don’t realize that there is a large population of freshwater American eels in Hook Pond, which sometimes come up to the duck pond searching for food. They have been known to eat young ducklings and will even attack the feet of adults. This is in addition to close encounters with dogs, cats, and foxes. I’ve seen many a duck at the duck pond survive with only one good leg — or only one leg for that matter. Again, no real harm.

Something I have never understood is why people insist that the ducks and other wildfowl at our duck pond need to be fed. These are wild ducks. They are perfectly capable of finding their own food, even in the dead of winter. While it’s true that they become habituated to being fed at a given location that is not what keeps them there. It’s actually the nature of the location itself that attracts them: It’s sheltered, quiet, and the water is shallow enough for them to reach the bottom to grub for worms, which is their preferred food. Bread and corn fed to them by humans are an incidental extra and, if the supply stopped, they would not be unduly inconvenienced. It’s like the birds at a backyard feeder. The food is easy to find and regularly provided so they learn to use it, but certainly don’t rely on it to live.

As for the question of the food keeping the ducks around, that’s not really an issue. As I said, mallards, black ducks, and other visiting species actually come for other reasons. Wood ducks come to nest in the bird boxes provided for that purpose, replacing the old woodpecker nesting cavities they would choose otherwise. Most others come because the area is sheltered from the worst of the wind. In winter, even if no one feeds the ducks, they are there in droves because it’s warmer than elsewhere.

If there was a species that should be rounded up everywhere, it should be the mute swan. North America had two species of native swans before Europeans came: The tundra swan and trumpeter swan. Both were driven out by mute swans, which were brought from Europe as “living furniture” to ornament large estates. They go loose and have been wreaking havoc on the local ecosystem ever since. They feed mostly on the roots of aquatic plants, and in our area they are the primary destroyers of the local eelgrass beds in our bays and estuaries which, when healthy, provide nurseries for most of the commercially important fish and shellfish species, not to mention all the others.

This is why our bay scallop population has to be augmented with stocks from hatcheries. Eelgrass might also help with our brown-tide problem by removing nutrients from the water, which the microalgae would otherwise consume. So mute swans are a fundamental cause of local ecological and economic stress. They are also aggressive and nasty birds, especially unpaired males. They have been known to attack and kill dogs, cats, and seriously maim people. They can be domineering and the ones at our duck pond often frighten and menace children. If we were to get rid of them, our seagrass beds would return fairly quickly and in time, we would see a return of the trumpeter swan and maybe even the occasional tundra swan.

My point is that if we are going to intervene in nature, why not take action that will actually undo damage we have already done? Let’s round up the mute swans and eat them — swan is like goose or duck. Let’s try to round up the feral cat population and (I hate to say) destroy them for their own sake as well as that of all the wild birds they kill. Sticking with birds, the house sparrow (actually a member of the weaverbird family), which was naturalized from Europe, nests in places favored by such beneficial species as purple martins and eastern bluebirds. Why don’t we get rid of them?

Pigeons were originally native to Arabia but were introduced to Europeans and Asians through Silk Road trade. They became favored as food and were thus spread to every continent except Antarctica. Squab was originally made from pigeon (the proper name of which is rock dove). They are messy and spread disease to both humans and domestic fowl. Why not round them up? And maybe eat them?

My point is not to actually push these ideas to fruition; too many people are ignorant of reality to understand the reasons properly. I suspect that Long Island Orchestrating for Nature is made up of these kinds of people. What I am getting at is that acting without proper understanding of the consequences is a very human trait. It’s why we have a lunatic in the White House and a planet that is rapidly becoming unable to sustain us as a species. It may seem a stretch to equate removal of a few ducks from a single location to globally universal problems. Actually, my point is that, relatively speaking, there wasn’t a problem until the people who called in LION made it one.

As always, thanks for reading.

Sincerely,

MATT HARNICK


Clear Conscience
East Hampton
January 27, 2020

Editor,

I’m honored that John Di Leonardo went through the trouble of researching me in an effort to find dirt to sling. As someone who speaks his mind often, I’ve learned that when you’re fighting fires, you’re going to take some heat. Fortunately, I hold no secrets or revelations to be discovered in my past. I’m human and I’m not perfect, not even today, but I do my best. Apparently Mr. Di Leonardo’s perfection slipped, as he wasn’t aware of the two previous times a disgruntled nonfan used this very angle/article in an attempt to smear my name. Didn’t work for them either.

My previous comments about LION [Long Island Orchestrating for Nature] were my professional opinion, and I stated so. If I don’t think LION is doing good work, I have the right to express my opinion about it. No business or organization is immune from critique or review, and after witnessing how they operate on multiple occasions, they earned the proper review from me. They have the same right to critique me and my work, but they don’t have the right to fabricate a story, file a frivolous complaint against me that couldn’t even be served, send another organization to strong-arm me and to outright lie to folks about my licensed status. Those are actions of folks whose intentions are malicious. If I cared about J.D.L. and his kooky organization, I’d dance, but I have way more important things to do, saving our wildlife and educating folks. That’s what I’m focused on, not LION. However, for those who missed the past two times I had to correct the haters, let me end with a really summarized conclusion of facts that the smear attempt by J.D.L. forgot to mention.

I was hired as foreman of a private family, non-working ranch in Texas that housed goats and cattle not for slaughter but to live out their lives since they had belonged to the grandparents of the owner, who was very sentimental about the aged stock. I met my wife while there, and we both lived on the 5,000-acre ranch. My job was clearing acres of cedar and caring for the stock. The owner’s son moved onto the ranch and decided the ranch’s future was to be used as a hunting ranch. My wife and I were not pleased; however, the ranch offered us great positions with all the perks. After several immediate disagreements on the matter, mostly about ethics issues, a dog getting thrown into a side of a truck, and having rifles aimed at us, my wife and I left the ranch under the cover of night, with the help of their family member.

They then used wildlife photos of mine without my permission when they began promoting their hunting idea. I sued them for using my copyrighted photos, and also for misrepresenting them. They were told by the judge to remove the photos multiple times, but they refused the judge’s order. Then they sued me for exposing their inhumane operation (shooting animals with M16s and M60 sniper rifles). They won a judgment in their hometown of population eight, and the lawyer was quick to post a story in the lawyers newsletter before we could win an appeal. That is what Mr. LION found online and thought was the golden egg to destroy me: A tall tale from their lawyer in a desperate attempt to protect his client. The guy chasing wildlife on a four-wheeler was the owner’s son, not yours truly; however, a quad or horse was the mode of travel on the ranch for everyone. What Johnny didn’t find on the worldwide web is that we won our willful copyright infringement case against them and the judge awarded an equal judgment. No money was paid to either party. Both judgments dropped. Apparently their lawyer didn’t find that conclusion worthy to write about.

Moral of the story: Don’t believe everything you read on the internet. But do I really have to tell people that? To show you how clear a conscience I have, here’s a fun fact for all you haters: I actually had a hunting license when I was 14. Never once shot a deer or killed anything. Didn’t like shooting much at all, except clay, but I loved sitting in the woods watching and listening. I also dabbled in the art of taxidermy. Now there’s a couple real revelations you haters can kick around, and you don’t even have to twist the truth. The more interesting story is that since then I’ve saved hundreds of wildlife animals and have dedicated my life to doing so, while at the same time educating others to do the same, and to have compassion for our beautiful yet burdened wildlife.

Update: The ranch never reached its potential to be a “staged” wild hunt location after the legal action. It closed shortly after without even getting started. My wife and I were very lucky to get off that ranch alive, and it was due to our protest against their plans and ethics. An amazing story to be told, but that’s for another time.

Let me save any additional haters some time. In the dozens and dozens of positive accolades and achievements of mine that you will find online, you won’t find any kryptonite. You also won’t find me wasting any more time giving LION or D.L. any further thought, unless he or their volunteers play any part endangering wildlife or disrupt my objective in helping wildlife here in my community. If they do, I’ll be very quick to talk about it.

And in quick response to J.D.L.’s comrade. We had a Dr. DeNicola come to our village a few years back. He had very impressive schooling and degrees. He also wanted to cull our deer population. Instead, the deer were just tortured with a half-baked sterilization program that failed miserably, and only a couple dozen deer died as a result. I watched YouTube videos of this outfit using plastic bags to suffocate the tranquilized deer to save bullets and not wake up surrounding residents. I also found a dead yearling buck with a tranquilizer dart in its neck lying dead by the back benches of the Nature Trail after Dr. DeNicola’s crew left. Took pictures. Sent them to the Department of Environmental Conservation. Nothing happened. The deer decomposed right where it died. I gave the dart to the New York State Department of

Environmental Conservation. Nothing hap­pen­ed. In short, degrees and titles don’t impress me, and they don’t save animals. Dedication, hands-on experience, and knowing when to leave the animals alone do.

It was reported to me yesterday that four domestic geese have been dropped off at [Fresh Pond] off the Napeague stretch toward Montauk. It’s an open and active hunting area with zero protection or care for the abandoned geese. It’s a bit of a hike to get to. No media back there, but there are lots of ticks. I’ll assume LION will be taking care of saving these domestics? Would have been a lot easier for birds and rescue had they been dropped off at the Nature Trail, but what do I know?

DELL CULLUM

Wildlife Rescue of East Hampton


A Disgrace
Bridgewater, N.J.
January 16, 2020

To the Editor,

Your first sentence (“Consequences Feared,” Jan. 9) is a disgrace to all those who stood on the line and paid the ultimate sacrifice for your freedom and all Americans. Finally we have a leader who took off the gloves and fought for us.

You missed the conception of the planet’s present state: It is risk on. Look all around the globe. The fire is getting hot and getting hotter.

Great risk is where we are as a nation. Trump keeps us free and safe. That is his job.

EUGENE K. KIRKWOOD


Seems Limited
Wainscott
January 27, 2020

Dear David:

Our weekly hysterical, bloviating, historian wannabe has yet to ever write anything about issues that affect and are important to this community. His gas-bag orifice certainly contributes to global warming. If it were electricity, we wouldn’t need any wind power off our shores!

I don’t read his long missives, but just scroll down to see what vulgar phrase he inserts because his vocabulary seems limited. This is a family newspaper?

Yours truly,

ARTHUR J. FRENCH


Cultural Insanity
East Hampton
January 27, 2020

Dear Star:

Reading about Japan’s entrance into World War II is a cautionary tale of cultural egomania run amok. Japan had no oil due to an embargo by the West for its transgressions in China. By 1941, oil was in such short supply that cars were being run by charcoal burners instead of gas. Yet, Japan decided to attack the U.S. and British outposts in the Pacific Ocean and open a second front in World War II.

Why did they begin a war that they had virtually no chance of winning? The simplest answer, without writing a book, is cultural insanity. The Japanese believed that their culture and ethic was so far superior to those of the U.S. and Britain that they couldn’t possibly be defeated, that their fanatical loyalty to the emperor was enough to overcome every shortcoming. Even oil.

Four years and millions of dead people later they figured it out. It wasn’t a case of over or underestimating the situation. It was simply mind-boggling delusion — madness, lying, gross deception.

On Saturday, the Trump defense team accused the Democratic House managers of trying to overturn the election. No shit. Doesn’t impeachment mean overturning an election? That’s the whole point of impeachment.

The role of the defense is to disprove the charges against the president. Not to disparage the accusers or the process. If all of the deposed witnesses and evidence are unfavorable to the president, they have to prove them wrong. I’m not sure how stating the obvious about impeachment or calling Adam Schiff names makes the president’s case?

To make the process more equitable for the president it would seem fair that every senator who participated in the Clinton impeachment, and who voted along party lines, should recuse themselves from the trial. Sixty percent of the remaining group should determine the outcome. Given that the level of hypocrisy is so overwhelming and that this process is the most important thing they will ever do, no hypocrites should be allowed.

Hypocrisy is not a legal or constitutional problem: It’s a moral, ethical one. We know that politicians will circumnavigate the law as normal behavior, but the immoral, unethical aspects of their behavior are what threatens the fabric of our democracy. Cheating, stealing, lying, are often business as usual but without a higher standard of behavior we have nothing. What Bush did in Iraq was immoral. What the Japanese government did in World War II was immoral. This impeachment process has the same gravitas. It needs to be held to the highest possible standard. Does that exist in our culture?

NEIL HAUSIG


Enablers
Plainview
January 25, 2020

Dear Star:

Add Thomas Valva’s name to the list of young children — including Zymere Perkins, Myls Dobson, Elisa Izquierdo, Nixzmary Brown, Lisa Steinberg, and others too numerous to mention — who were not only cruelly tortured and murdered by their evil parents and caretakers, but whose deaths were “enabled” by supposedly responsible adults who worked for Suffolk County’s Child Protective [sic] Services, New York City’s A.C.S., New York State’s O.C.F.S., the children’s own schools, judges ordering “supervision” on meaningless pieces of paper, etc.

None of these virtual “accessories before the fact” are ever held criminally responsible for the parts they played in these avoidable deaths. These enablers may not themselves be monsters, but their consciences (before the fact) are not what they should be.

RICHARD SIEGELMAN


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